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Biden blocks removing of most Hong Kong residents from U.S. for 18 months, cites China repression

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers on remarks within the East Room of the White Home on July 29, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Anna Moneymaker | Getty Pictures

President Joe Biden signed an order on Wednesday blocking the enforced removing of many Hong Kong residents from america for 18 months, giving them a “non permanent secure haven” from ongoing repression by China in that area, the White Home mentioned.

The order will enable Hong Kong residents whose U.S. visas are expired and who’re in any other case legally detachable to stay in america.

Biden on Wednesday additionally directed the Homeland Safety Division to maneuver to permit Hong Kong residents topic to the order to work legally in america.

“Given the politically motivated arrests and trials, the silencing of the media, and the diminishing area for elections and democratic opposition, we’ll proceed to take steps in assist of individuals in Hong Kong,” White Home press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned in a written assertion.

The memorandum signed by Biden imposing the order additionally says China “has undermined the enjoyment of rights and freedoms” within the Hong Kong particular administrative area, together with ones protected underneath the so-called Fundamental Legislation and the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Since June 2020, when China unilaterally imposed its nationwide safety legislation on Hong Kong, police within the semi-autonomous area have taken into custody not less than 100 opposition politicians, activists and protestors on prices underneath that legislation, the memo famous.

Police even have arrested greater than 10,000 folks in reference to anti-government protests.

The crackdown by China got here in response to anti-government protests that started in Hong Kong in 2019.

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“There are compelling overseas coverage causes to defer enforced departure for Hong Kong residents presently within the United States,” the memo mentioned.

“The USA is dedicated to a overseas coverage that unites our democratic values with our overseas coverage objectives, which is centered on the protection of democracy and the promotion of human rights around the globe,” the memo mentioned.

“Providing secure haven for Hong Kong residents who’ve been disadvantaged of their assured freedoms in Hong Kong furthers United States pursuits within the area.”

Biden’s order applies to Hong Kong residents who’re presently in america, with sure exceptions.

These exceptions embody individuals who underneath immigration legislation are inadmissible to the U.S. or are deportable, those that have been convicted of a felony or a number of misdemeanors within the U.S., and people whose presence is deemed not within the curiosity of the U.S.

Sen. Ben Sasse, the Nebraska Republican who final 12 months launched a invoice that will robotically grant asylum to Hong Kong residents within the U.S., mentioned Biden’s order “is a strong step, however we have to go additional.”

“We have to provide full asylum to Hong Kongers who flee Chairman Xi’s brutal oppression,” Sasse mentioned, referring to Chinese language Communist Celebration Basic Secretary Xi Jingping.

“America wants to face firmly behind victims of communism and present the world that we are going to at all times stand for freedom throughout the globe.”

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